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Model Veronika Didusenko traveled through war-torn Ukraine and four countries before arriving in Los Angeles, where she appeared at a press conference Tuesday alongside attorney Gloria Allred to speak about actions needed to help her homeland.
Allred and Didusenko highlighted the dangers Ukrainian women and children are facing as they flee Russia’s brutal attacks.
“Right now, millions of Ukrainian children and their mothers are trembling at every sound in the subway stations and bomb shelters. Even more heartbreaking that women are giving birth in such conditions in these shelters,” she described during the press conference.
Allred urged President Joe Biden to implement Humanitarian Parole for Ukrainian refugees as soon as possible. Humanitarian Parole would allow refugees into the U.S. without a visa.
“This approach is necessary and urgent because the visa process could take many months,” Allred said on Tuesday.
Didusenko detailed her journey as she fled Ukraine. The model was crowned Miss Ukraine in 2018, but later was stripped of the title after it came to light she was divorced and had a child. Didusenko has since taken legal action against the UK-based Miss World organization.
On Tuesday, Didusenko described seeing an air battle take place above her head in Ukraine. Didusenko traveled from Ukraine through three countries and ended in Switzerland, where she applied for a United States visa for her 7-year-old son.
Didusenko claimed her son’s visa application was denied, and she had to leave him in Geneva. She said her mother and father have decided to stay in Ukraine to protect their land.
The model said the one thing she wants the United States to do is close the skies over Ukraine in order to prevent the Russian military from continuing to kill innocent civilians.
Her plea echoes that of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who delivered a message on Sunday, bearing subtitles in English that said, “We repeat everyday: ‘Close the sky over Ukraine!'”
According to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, “the reason why that has not been a step the president has been willing to take or we have been interested in taking is because a no-fly zone requires implementation.”
“It would require, essentially, the U.S. military shooting down Russian planes and prompting a potential direct war with Russia, the exact step that we want to avoid,” she stated.
In Tuesday’s press conference, Didusenko accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to eradicate everything Ukrainian and Ukraine itself.
Allred and Didusenko also showed video and photos taken by the model taken during her escape from Ukraine. The two are set to hold another press conference on Wednesday.
Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Putin labeled the attack a “special military mission.”
Two million people — half of them children — have fled Ukraine in the less than two weeks since Russia invaded the country, officials said Tuesday, as Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II grows by the day.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.